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One argument I've heard many times is that tenure is a powerful form of protection of the free speech of academics.

Hi Mattia:

That's true. Tenure protects the professor who wants to make an unpopular public statement or speak out against the university's leadership. And there are some faculty who do that, it's one of the risks that tenure encourages you to take. But for most faculty, in my experience, "risk" means making arguments that contradict the big shots in your field, or embarking on a project that won't bear fruit for 10 years, and might not bear fruit at all.

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